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Interior Design, Home-Building & All Things Renovation: Our Interview with Marissa

Marissa is a homie we definitely admire! She is sweet; yet bold, and carries herself with an undeniably elegant confidence. She is a hardworking wife and momma and exercises a fierce passion for interior design, renovating and all things home. Check out our interview below:


HG: thank-you so much for sitting down with me today to chat about all things interior! What is it about interior design that drew you to become so passionate about it?


Marissa: My pleasure! Many people don’t know this about me but I applied to University for Fine Arts and was accepted. Visual Art has always been a passion of mine, so naturally I am drawn to creative outlets. Interior design is more than just making a space visually beautiful, it is designing a space that is a reflection of yourself and somewhere you will make memories for your lifetime.

HG: how would you define your style/taste when it comes to interior design?


Marissa: I have an appreciation for a variety of styles, I don’t think one style fits all spaces. However, many people are drawn to particular characteristics of various styles. Personally, I am drawn to a rustic modern design where extreme contrast exists. Regardless of colour palette, my designs capture the beauty of clean lines and simplicity. Naturally, I am drawn to a Craftsman/Hampton style home.


HG: you and your husband recently built your new home after renovating your previous home. Tell us what that process was like.


Marissa: In 2016, Ry and I started the process of designing a new home. It took us a long time to decide what we wanted to do, build or renovate. We had renovated before and enjoyed the process of creating fresh looks in tired spaces. We knew that someday we wanted to build our dream home and we didn’t want that to be our first time through the building process. After (finally!!) finding the right neighbourhood and property we started the building process. Personally, I absolutely loved the process of building a house. It is NOT for everyone though! With our experience renovating and personal strengths in budgeting, project managing and (naturally) design… I was in my glory. Similar to renovating, there are always going to be set backs. Yes, those setbacks can be frustrating but I tried to focus my energy on the things I could control. Our experience renovating helped us stay on budget because we knew the places to concentrate our budget. There are many things that can be done in your home after the building process is completed that is more cost effective. It is about knowing your builder and what is a ‘need-to-have’ verses ‘want-to-have’ for you!

HG: you are a busy working mom to baby B. Do you find that you can indulge in interior design as a way to decompress?


Marissa: Absolutely! Design is SUCH an outlet for me, it doesn’t feel like work. From chatting about design to actually creating beautiful spaces, I am energized by it!


HG: what was it like renovating and personalizing your new home with a new baby around?


Marissa: My maternity leave was truly fantastic. I had B two weeks after moving into our new home… so there were still boxes left to unpack! The year gave me time to settle into our new space, research, plan, source material and design a blank palette. Baby B came along with me as I designed custom furniture, sourced material and met with trades. It is a time that is special to me, just thinking about it makes me smile.



HG: what are you favourite colour schemes?


Marissa: White, soft greys, black, navy and a little wood! Classic to the Craftsman/Hampton style.


HG: which room or space are you most pleased with?


Marissa: My favourite spaces are the kitchen and our master ensuite!

HG: where did you get design inspiration from during the renovation?


Marissa: Pinterest and I are besties! ;)


HG: tell me something you learned about yourself during the renovation process.


Marissa: I am a VERY decisive person! Once I have decided on a design concept, I know what I am looking for. I can look at 50+, 2-inch tile options, narrow down the look I am going for, process what each of the final options would look like on a larger scale, compare it to other design elements and make a final design in record time. AND, I have rarely changed my mind later. Of any space I have designed/built, I have probably changed my mind once or twice.


HG: now that the spaces are done, is there anything you would have changed and/or done differently?


Marissa: B’s playroom is sunken to achieve higher ceilings. Although the ceiling height is fantastic and gives the space a “grand” feeling, I wouldn’t do that again. It creates extra stairs that aren’t necessary and with a little guy, it can be a logistical nightmare when learning to crawl and walk ;)


Though we feel her on the Pinterest obsession more than anything, we think what we agree on most is that building/renovating is NOT for everyone. It’s the disruption, the dust, the compromises - these are all things to consider. Equally important to the lifestyle change is the budget. We cannot stress how important this part is. Know your budget and stick to it. Put aside a fair amount of contingency and have a budget that is prepared for the worst of the worst (ex: all new electrical, septic removal and sewer set-up, arborists, foundation, etc.) You really never know what you’ll get until you open up those walls …


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